Sunday, December 23, 2012

Homemade Christmas Fabric Gift Bags with a Tag Tutorial and A Chocolate Bag Too!

After making some personalized fabric gift bags earlier this year to celebrate the birth of my cousins' babies (homemade fabric gift bags), it gave me the idea to to the same for Christmas.

Below, you will find:
- 4 different bags
- A tutorial for the Christmas tags.

Update: (November 26th, 2013)
A small bag for chocolate ;-)

  • Small Bag
Bag for Elise - Front of the bag
Side View 

1 piece of fabric with pattern, a plain ribbon and matching thread.

Length: 9
Depth: 3.5
Width: 4.5

Top of the Small Bag

The Design:
The hem for the ribbon is right at the top of the bag. It is around 1.25 inches wide to pass a 1 inch ribbon.
I sewed a ribbon the entire width and pined a safety pin to attached a tag (check the tutorial for more detail).

  • Bigger Bags
                Style A

Bag for Orianne

1 piece of fabric with pattern, a plain ribbon (2.5 inches wide) and matching thread.

Length: 18
Depth: 6.5
Width: 11

The Design:
The ribbon was sewn as the same time as both lengths of the pieces of fabric. The ribbon is around 2 inches from the top. However, a bit lower would look better.
To add some character to the bag, I made a bell Christmas tag.

Doubled Stamp Tag

Christmas Tag Tutorial:

- a generic design stamp saying "To" and "From"
- water color paint,
- brushes,
- safety pins,
- scrap paper,
- hole puncher,
- pen
- pieces of strong paper

Tag with Bells
  1. Cut a piece of a strong paper a bit bigger than the stamp to allow some space for a hole to pass the safety pin
  2. Take the hole puncher and make a hole on your piece of paper where you would like. 
  3. Apply water color of your choice on the stamp. make sure the color/water combination is somewhat thick. 
  4. Using your wet stamp, push down once or twice on your scrap paper before cancelling your stamp on your cut piece of paper (step 1). Let it dry. Then, complete the text from the stamp using a pen.
  5. Slide 3 small gold bells in a green wire, pass it in the round end of a small gold color safety pin and till it all together until it looked well secure. 
  6. Open the safety pin, put it through the hole of your paper and pin it to your bag where it looks nice to you.

                Style B 

Matching Bags

Bag for Mom with tie in the middle of the bag 

After making different design of bag, I searched for a unique style, and I found this great idea for the top of the bag from Make It Perfect with tutorial. Make sure to check it out.

Bag for Dad 

Material for 1 bag:
2 different pieces of fabric and matching thread.

Length: 16.5
Depth: 4.5
Width: 13

The Design:
The tie of the bag is on the outside. It is in a top strip sewed around 1 inch from the top of the bag and 1 and 1/2 inches wide.
The opening of the strip can be on the side (green bag) or in the middle (red bag).
The tie was made out of fabric matching the top strip and is around 1.25 inches wide and around 26 inches long .
A rectangular piece of fabric was sewn around 1/3 of the length of the bag from the top to pin a Christmas tag.

Close view at the strip
Tie on the side of the bag

A Sweet Chocolate Bag

  • A Small Bag for Chocolate
We bought a BIG bag of Lindt chocolate from Coscto and I had the idea to make a small bag. It is an inexpensive way to give chocolate instead of buying a whole box for everyone. The bag can hold between 7 and 8 pieces of chocolate. It is a very easy bag to make and done in 30 minutes.

1 piece of fabric, ribbon (1/8 in.) and matching thread .

Length: 7.5
Depth: 1.25
Width: 2

The Design:
I folded the fabric in half with the strong edge (do not know how the part is called) being the top of the bag to avoid extra sewing. I am referring to the one side which has a bias embedded within the fabric itself. The tie of the bag is on the outside. It is in a top strip sewed around 1 inch from the top of the bag and 1 and 1/2 inches wide.
The seam, which hold the entire bag, is on the back and boxed the bottom. It gives a nice clean look on the front.
The ribbon  (15 inches long) was sewn on the outside of the bag (the back side) by hand and placed around 1.5 inches from the top.
View of the back

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Giraffe Applique

                - GIRAFFE -

For our little guy's birthday, I decided to make him an applique of an animal that he likes very much: A Giraffe. I searched on line and found this sweet idea and tutorial on appliques from Sew like my mom. Melissa, from whom I got this great project, is listed in my blogroll. You should check her site. She has a lot of great ideas.

I am very pleased with the result considering that it was my 3rd applique (ever)! :-)

The Giraffe Applique Project: 
I used the exact same template of the giraffe, fabric designs idea from Melissa's online sample, and used the same stitch selection.

I printed the picture of the sample. Because the picture of the giraffe was not symmetrical, I selected the side that I like the most, trace around it, flip it on the other side to get a full and regular face and neck for the giraffe. Now, I could use my template to trace on the applique paper. I used "Steam-A-Seam".

Long sleeve shirt, Fabric and Threat:
The long sleeve shirt was bought online from Dharma Trading Company. As for the fabric color palette, I went for light blue, brown, light beige (fabric with design) with a layering of polka dots, and bright green (plain fabric). The threat was the same color as the plain fabric.

Stitch Selection: Zig Zag. To saw the different pieces of fabric, I used the sewing machine. However, I did not used the pedal. I just turned the flywheel for the entire project. It was easier to move around the fabric and adjusting the foot of the machine at every turn and at a speed that I could control.

                         HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


Follow-Up (January 15, 2013)
After washing the shirt several times, you can see the "shadow" of extra fabric laying underneath the green piece of fabric. Make sure to have just a little piece of fabric and not has much for your layering. For my next project, the width of my stitch style (Zig Zag most likely) will be the same as the extra fabric that I will allow.

Watch out for your next applique project

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

An Apron for Mom

Nice and Easy Apron to Make with a Matching Towel
- Christmas Present for Mom -

For Mom's Christmas present, I decided to make her an apron. First, I thought about making an apron for the holiday season. Then I realized that she would only be using it few days over the course of the year. So, I picked up 2 different pieces of fabric to make the apron, which could be used anytime during the year and even Christmas time.

Now that I had the fabric, I had to find a not too difficult pattern online and found a great tutorial from the Purl bee. The steps and instructions were very clear and easy to followed. It is definitively a weekend project if you just spend few hours here and there.

I followed the instructions and made few changes to the front pocket and added my personal touch.

- 2 pockets instead of 3
- Sewed a piece of red fabric on the top of black pocket with a piece of the ribbon (the same as the one to tie the apron) that I ironed on to give more depth to the pocket.

Pocket and Towel

Make with Love

Personal Touch:
I stitched with some red thread my nickname on this cute label saying "Made with love by Titia" and ironed it on the inside of the apron, on the top left side. The label is called Lovelabels from from La Mode.

An Addition to the Apron:
After making the apron it felt that something was missing. I decided to make a towel using the same piece of fabric as the apron using one of my towel collection as template. The towel is 16.5 by 21.5 inches (finish product with bias). The towel is a nice and simple addition to the apron (see picture above).

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Christmas Present for "Mamy": A Walker Bag/Organizer

Front of the Bag with 3 Side Pockets

Mamy's Special Christmas Present

After thinking about different ideas for Mamy's Christmas present and make it very special, I thought about making a bag for her walker. "Mamy" or "Mamie" is one of the special name to call your Grandma in French. My Mamy lives in France with the rest of my family. She has been using in her daily activities for almost a year now. I thought that it would be a prefect gift thinking back about a previous phone conversation on how she was describing her walker and uses it. The bag would definitively be convenient in some situations for her. I cannot wait for her to get it for Christmas... Mamy is so special to me.

Back of the Bag with 1 Big Side Pocket
Side View of the Bag

After spending some time online to search for a bag idea, I found the perfect pattern from Piecework Treasures and this great tutorial from Laura's Sewing Studio that I was looking for. I followed the basics of the tutorial and added my personal touch. It was interesting to observe all the changes I made along the way with the bag based on the initial design. 

Top View of the Bag
For this project, I had 4 different pieces of fabric to make the bag: 1 large piece of printed fabric pattern and 3 long and narrow (5 inches) plain pieces of fabric. Those 3 pieces were complementing the same color scheme of the leaf pattern. The color palette were: white, subdue pink, burgundy and dark blue.
The leaf pattern piece of fabric: base of the bag (front and back) and one side of a pocket (the one divided into three pockets)
Pink, Blue and Burgundy pieces of fabric: one side pocket, bias on the top of the two pockets and ties.

Below you will find some tutorials and ideas reflecting my personal touch. However follow the tutorial from Laura's Sewing Studio for building your bag.

Project: Bag/organizer for walker

I made some adjustment in relation to the design of the bag for 3 reasons. (1) I used the pieces of fabric that I already had. (2) The leaf pattern fabric was not enough to complete the different parts of the bag. To realize the bag, I had to create some of the parts with three different pieces of fabric. (3) I have not seen Mamy's walker and did not want ask any questions to my mom about the style, height, width, etc to keep this present as a total surprise. Some modifications were done for the ties to fit Mamy's walker.

  • Drawing Sewing Template of the Bag: 

The measurements of the finished bag.
  • Pocket with Layering (back of the bag)

- 4 length of the plain pieces of fabric (5 by 10 inches)

Sewed the 4 pieces next to each other and making sure that the width was 4.25 inches for the 2 pieces in the middle. 

- 1 piece of the plain fabric of your choice (3 by 15)

Fold it into two and iron.
Take one side and make a fold half an inch from the edge inside. Place the small fold inside the folded fabric. 
Repeat for the other side.
You should have a bias of one inch on each side. 

Place the bias that you just made over the 4 layered pieces of fabric that you just sewed. 
Make sure that the bias covers the edge of the piece of fabric on both sides.

Secure with pins before sewing. 

The pocket should still be 10 inches long with the bias.  

I followed the same steps for the front side pocket of the bag with the three pockets to create the bias. 

  • Ties
I did not have enough of the same piece of fabric to have all the ties of the same color. I adjusted with what I had and ended up with each side of the 4 main ties to be a different color.

- 16 single ties measuring 17 inches long and 3 inches wide, which include a margin of 1/2 inch on each side and 1/2 inches on the top and 1 and 1/2 inches on bottom (part to sew on the bag). 
- 2.5 inches strips cut on the bias for bias.

Face the right side of the 2 pieces of fabric. Left an extra half inch in the top (bias) and sewed the longest edge. 
Place the needle of your machine at the exact same place where you started sewing the longest length. Start sewing the small width and move along to the shortest length. 
Pull the right side out and iron. 
Final length once assembled: 15 by 2
Repeat the steps above to complete the ties of your bag. 

You need a total of 8 ties: 4 on the top of the base of the bag and 4 for the sides. 

Place the ties were you like on the top of the bag and sew them. Make sure that they line up with each other.

For the ties on the side, sew them at the same time as you sew the entire side of the bag from top to bottom (bag and side pockets). As above, make sure that the bias and ties line up.

  • Cross Stitching
To make this bag special, I decided to cross stitch my Grandma special name "Mamy". I used a previous cross stitch project for the template of the letters and matching DMC threads of the plain pieces of fabric. I crossed stitched with 3 threads on Aida.
A Personal Touch
I folded the edges inside, apply it on a piece of fabric and sewed it on the bag.

  • A Special Label

Several years ago I found those cute labels from a craft store. They were just perfect for my project. I sewed my nick name (Titia) using the DMC threads as for the cross stitching. Then, I ironed it between 2 ties on the top of the bag and on the inside. 

The label is called Lovelabels by La Mode.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mousse au Chocolat -- Chocolate Mousse (Tutorial)

We have been invited for dinner by some friends tomorrow evening and I have been designated volunteer by my husband to make dessert but not any kind of dessert: Chocolate Mousse!

- 125 g of semi sweet chocolate chips
- 4 eggs
- 2 spoons of water

1. Weigh 125 g of semi sweet chocolate chips.
2. Crack the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites. Place the yolks in a small bowl and the whites in a big one.
3. Beat the yolks.
4. Whisk egg whites to form a stiff peaks.

5. Melt the chocolate in bain-marie. When the chocolate start melting stir until to get a nice paste with no lumps. Very Important: Make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.

6. Very carefully place the hot bowl with the chocolate on a covered surface. Stir the beaten yolk and bit until incorporated.

7. Fold the whisked egg whites very carefully a little at the time. The mousse is almost ready when the egg whites are well incorporated to the chocolate/yolks mixture with no lumps. This step takes some time.

8. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for several hours.

9. To serve the chocolate mousse, scoop the chocolate in a ramequin or a martini glass and you can top it with some whipped cream, shredded chocolate, mint leaves or a rolled wafers cookie (like Pirouette broken into 2 pieces).

=> I like to make the recipe the day before.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Laetitia's Rosemary Bread (Tutorial)

The rosemary bread is ready to be served!

This recipe is done in a 24 hour period and makes 1 loaf

- 2 1/4 t active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water (between 100 to 110 degree Fahrenheit)
- 2  cups flour and around 1/3 cup for kneading
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 T sugar
- 1 t salt
- 2 T (dried and fresh) rosemary cut into 1/4 inch pieces

1. Warm the water and sprinkle the yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Let it set for 10 minutes.
2. Grease another large bowl with spray and set aside.
3. Add the oil, salt and rosemary in the large bowl with yeast/water mixture.
4. Stir in 2 cups of flour gradually.
The dough before knitting
5. Knead the dough for 10 minutes using a little bit of flour at a time on your surface.
6. Put the dough in the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let it rise over night in the fridge. Before going to bed, push down the plastic film to let the carbon monoxide out of the bowl.
The dough after knitting 10 minutes and ready to rise in the fridge over night 
7. The following day. Grease a loaf pan with spray.
8. Deflate the dough, shape it to put it your loaf pan and let it rise for at least 1 hour in a warm place cover with a towel or until it double in size.
Tip: To rise my dough, I place it in the oven (off) with the light on and with a steaming cup of almost boiling water.
The dough after rising overnight in the fridge

All set to rise another hour
9. Preheat oven to 375 degree Fahrenheit.
10. Brush the top of the bread with some milk and make a cut in the middle of the bread or several in diagonal. In France, it is called the signature of the baker. You can see it better when the bread is  done.
After rising a second time for almost 2 hours before baking
11. Bake the bread for 40 minutes and until the top of the loaf is golden brown. Check with a knife in the center of the bread. It is done when the knife comes out clean.
12. Cool on a baking rack and serve.
Out of the oven, cooling down

What Do I Think About This Recipe?
The crust of the bread has a nice crunch. The bread is slightly airy and holds very well when cutting it. At the first bite you can taste the rosemary but it is not overpowering.
This recipe is one of our favorites. We just made it for Thanksgiving. It is easy to make regarding the number of steps and tasty. Let me know what you think,